Long Wait Nearing End
It may still be a year away but the next Warbirds Over Wanaka International Airshow can’t come soon enough for tens of thousands of airshow fans around the world.
By the time the Easter 2024 event rolls around it will have been six years between Wanaka airshows with the 2020 and 2022 editions forced to cancel because of Covid restrictions.
One airshow fan who can’t wait to return is 74-year-old Ross Birnie from Sydney.
“I came to my first Wanaka airshow back in 1998 and have been back every two years since, except of course for the last two shows which were canned,” says Ross.
“After just one day of that first airshow my mate and I agreed that we would be back in 2000 and we’d be getting Gold Passes up in the big grandstand. Over the years it has become a significant part of my life in a way and now my wife Terri joins me and we have a great time enjoying the airshow and the wider Wanaka region.”
Ross says in the early days there were lots of aircraft you would see at Wanaka that you couldn’t see in Australia and while that has changed a bit over the years, Wanaka keeps calling him back.
“We just love the place and the quality of the airshow, especially the quality of the display pilots” says Ross who has already booked his trip for next Easter.
At the other end of the age spectrum is Wanaka youngster Finley Sharman who was just four years old at the last airshow in 2018 and will be more than twice that age before he gets to return next Easter.
“I really enjoyed the airshow, especially all the cool things for kids to do. The big aircraft were my favourites,” says Finley.
Meanwhile, New Plymouth-based pilot Fay Emeny has been waiting for at least four years to make her Wanaka debut as a member of the world-class Yak-52 aerobatic team.
“I had my first flight in a Yak-52 at the age of 15 and flew it often after that. After working on my career, getting married and having a family I was finally in a position to return to formation flying in 2019 with the aim of making my debut in the Yak team at Warbirds Over Wanaka 2020. Then covid came along. Flying in the team at Wanaka next year, along-side my dad and the other amazing pilots in the team, will definitely be a dream come true,” says Fay.
Tickets to the 2024 airshow go on sale on June 29 this year. The airshow is being held over Easter weekend (March 29, 30, 31) 2024. For more information go to www.warbirdsoverwanaka.com